Instrument of Speech

Your Voice Is Your Instrument of Speech

When you undertake speaking, training or presenting, your voice is your number one tool. It is the instrument that you use to get your message across and like any other profession or task, it is import that you maintain and treat that equipment properly. Here are a couple of tips to keep you voice in peek condition

Warm up. You should always warm your voice up before speaking, as a singer or actor would do. Simple exercises include humming, reciting a few tongue twisters and saying a few words that encourage you your mouth to open wide and move your jaw.

Drink water. Importantly drink water a couple of hours before speaking to hydrate your vocal system, but also sip water during your presentation, especially if it is any length of time.

Don’t drink milk. Especially don’t drink milk, soy lattes, flat whites if you have a nervous quiver in your voice. The milk protein can have the effect of coating the vocal apparatus and exacerbating the quiver or shake in the voice. Speech pathologists tell me to drink apple juice or pineapple juice, which lubricates and lessens the nervous quivers and the strain we put on our voices if we speak for a long time.

Breathe deep. Many people when speaking use shallow breathing, just using the top half of the lungs. Good quality voice that resonates and requires less effort comes from diaphragmatic breathing, which is deep down in the lungs. This is the type of breathing that opera singers learn and use when singing. To conceptualise this, think of your lungs as a balloon. When you breathe in, the balloon should fill up. When you breathe out the balloon will deflate and collapse. To practice this, lie down and puts some books on your tummy. As you breathe in the books should rise, as you breathe out, the books should fall.

So think of your voice as you instrument or tool for speaking and presenting and give it the due care and maintenance that it requires.

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